The mayor of London is being urged to forget about rent controls and instead focus on increasing the supply of rental accommodation in the capital by enticing more people to invest in the PRS.
Shadiq Khan has called on the government to hand him extra powers so he can cap rents in the city in order to "fundamentally rebalance London's private rented sector" and make it, in his view, "fit for purpose".
Average monthly private rents in London have increased by 35% from £1,095 in 2011 to £1,473 in 2018, according to analysis by the Valuation Office Agency.
Private renters in the city spent 42% of their household income on rent, compared with 30% spent by those living elsewhere in England, the latest English Housing Survey shows.
But critics have slammed Khan's proposals and fear that it could have a negative long-term impact on the quality of housing in the capital.
Paul Sloan, development director for haart, said: “Rent controls sound great in theory, but unfortunately the reality is that they simply do not work. Around the world we have countless examples of cities which have introduced rent controls, but that has done nothing to address affordability issues.
“The risk is that landlords are dissuaded from entering or staying in the market, which reduces the supply of available homes and can in turn inflate prices – the very thing the controls are brought in to avoid.
“Rent controls discourage landlords from investing in their properties which can mean that the supply of rental housing is of a lower quality than it would otherwise be, and tenants can find that repairs and maintenance are no longer a priority for landlords.
“Not only that, but the research from RLA has shown that rent controls can even serve to accelerate rises. An example from Berlin has shown that rental controls actually made rents rise by about ten per cent over two years, whereas before the controls were introduced they rose by about one to two per cent per year.
“We believe that rental controls are no substitute for a functional market where homes are fairly priced and well-maintained. Rather than plumping for a system which has been proven not to work, we call upon the Mayor and the government to work alongside private landlords to discover measures that will keep them in the market and find ways to entice new people into becoming landlords. After all, increasing the supply of good quality homes into the rental market is by far the best method of keeping rental prices at a reasonable level.”